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  1. 1. International Institute for Learning, Inc. © If You Think You Can Do Without a Business Analyst Think Again! By Maureen McVey and George Bridges In this article, we will introduce you to how Business Analysis can contribute to strategic, project and organizational success. In other words how does Business Analysis add value to the organization? In addressing and answering this question we will cover the following topics: Growth in the interest in the Business Analyst, The International Institute for Business Analysis (IIBA), the role of the business analyst, The required skills of a business analyst, how the business analyst works with the project manager and the business community. Consider the following quote: Quote: “An order shaper is one who knows and has assimilated the customers' pain. They need to participate in all the strategic planning and meetings, but the challenge is earning a seat at the table. While being a super order taker can achieve this over time, you can't simply be a smiling face because you'll get in the position of overpromising. Because the Business Requirements Manager knows how the company makes money, they can write business cases that demonstrate the impact of a project's ability to help the company make money. Dave Ficken, VP, Corporate Information systems, McDonald's Corporation We are convinced that the Business Analyst when properly placed and utilized in the organization can be an asset to assist their respective stakeholders in making a profit and adding value to their enterprise. THE PROBLEM: Why in the world does any organization need a new department, a new skill set and a new profession to add value to the organization? Why can’t they just rely on the existing marketing, engineering, finance and accounting people to solve their business problems? After all, they hire the best people, from the best schools in the world. They know all about our business and how to make our businesses successful. In addition they created a PMO and hired some very intelligent project managers. They may ask: “Why do we need another professional”? Is Business Analysis just another fad or is it another name for a “System Analyst” ? So what is a Business Analyst and how does he or she add value to their company? 1
  2. 2. International Institute for Learning, Inc. © THE SOLUTION At IIL, we believe that the field of BA is a 60% growing that will continue to expand because of 50% the problems and challenges in delivering IT 40% related projects. Based on our findings from a 30% CAOS report, most projects are challenged 20% (50%) and an additional 25% of all 10% projects are considered to have failed1. 0% 1998 2000 2002 2004 2006 That means that organizations will Succeeded 26% 28% 34% 29% 35% obtain a 25% success rate for the Failed 28% 23% 15% 18% 19% projects they initiate. Can your Challenged 46% 49% 51% 53% 46% company survive with a 25% project success rate? Can BA add to the bottom line of an organization and add value? Yes; and we demonstrate this in the information presented in this article. What is the IIBA The IIBA established, March 2, 2004, in Toronto, Canada , was formed as a non-profit professional association to provide a body of knowledge for BA and to promote the profession. As can be seen by the following chart, the organization has experienced some tremendous growth. All the data points to a exponential growth of the organization and the field of BA. The IIBA is adding significantly to the field of Business Analysis by developing, maintaining and distributing the Business Analysis Body of Knowledge (BABOK®). The BABOK®, provides a conceptual framework of best practices for business analysis. As we address this topic, we’ll see how this Body of Knowledge impacts all aspect of business analysis. The Role of the BA The BA’s main role in an organization and on a team is to manage the solution scope of the project deliverable. This solution scope is only a subset of the overall project scope. With that said, the business analyst takes the lead in handling all aspect of the solution scope. The BA will also act as a facilitator, communicator and problem solver in managing the solution scope. Finally, they will elicit requirements, analyze requirements, and plan all the business analysis activities by creating a Business Analysis Plan while participating in the monitoring and controlling of the solution scope for the project. The required skills of a BA A BA is accountable for defining & ensuring the right solution is delivered by using their skills as a vehicle for people, technology and process success. There are a number of skills that will contribute to the success of the business analyst. The greatest skill for the business analyst is the communication skills which include oral, written and listening skills. Another skill that is 2
  3. 3. International Institute for Learning, Inc. © very important for the business analyst is that of facilitation of stakeholders in all phases of the product development life cycle. At IIL we have identified nine skill sets we think are important for a business analyst. These skills are: • Verbal and Written Communication • Analytical and Systems thinking • Technology and Business Knowledge • Modeling (process, data, system) • Relationship Management • Negotiation • Evaluation and Decision Analysis • Planning and Management • Elicitation and Facilitation Of the skills listed above the most technical area for a BA is that of business process modeling (BPM). A BA does not have has to master all the skills above; however, they should master a few of them and have a good working knowledge of all the skills listed. The BA can assist the PM manage project scope by applying the above skills in managing the solution scope from the requirements phase to the implementation phase of the project. How the BA works with Project Manager The BA work and the PM work are unique, but in some instances they can overlap. PM’s who are not aware of the BA profession will go at it alone and do the work required to manage the solution scope. Most PM’s are not aware that someone like a BA , can take the leadership in handling the information need to generate requirements. It’s not jus the PM’s, we see many professionals in organizations around the globe doing business analysis, without formally being recognized as business analyst. Business Analysis adds value by providing planning inputs to the PM, especially time estimates required to: gather information, analyze information, review information document information, and coordinate with team and client stakeholders. The business analyst provides the skill sets (of resources) needed to complete those tasks – including client resources! If a PM schedules regular reviews and inspections of requirements documents with the project team, time and money is saved! The BA becomes the catalyst and the primary driver behind the requirement reviews, thus saving the PM time and headaches. The BA and the Business Community There are four main reasons why the interest in Business Analysis has grown: Unsatisfactory Project Results, Outsourcing, Regulatory Demands (USA: SOX) and Process Optimization. The BA needs the business community and the business community needs the BA. Through solution requirements traceability the BA manages the client expectation of the resulting 3
  4. 4. International Institute for Learning, Inc. © solution. The BA as an added resource to the project team helps validate requirements during acceptance testing and ultimately meet client outcomes and expectations. SUMMARY AND CONCLUSIONS According to a study conducted by the Corporate Executive Board, Application Executive Council, "Improving business analyst proficiency can improve application performance by as much as 30%." According to the same study a Business Analyst who is proficient in understanding business process complexity, their economic and revenue drives, recognizing the implications of changes in business strategy and accurately measuring the contribution of IT projects to business value contribute to 'extremely high [application] proficiency." Including providing the deliverable of cost benefits, a skilled Business Analyst enhances the link between the user and the I.T. resulting in less miscommunication thus reducing the level of chaos. Less project chaos lowers overtime, improves team morale, and the team’s chance of delivering on time. Most of all, the BA will contribute to higher customer satisfaction, by adding value. Gone are the days, when a project was considered successful when the satisfied the triple constraints (on time, within budget, right scope) the project may get a failing score on one or more of the triple constrain and still be successful. Success has to include the value added and the expectations of the executive stakeholder being met. An organization can add value to their projects, improve project success and thereby improve the organization’s bottom line, by adding a business analyst to their project team. 1. The Standish Group 2007 CHAOS Report 4
  5. 5. © International Institute for Learning, Inc. Maureen G. McVey, CBAP Director of Business Analysis, International Institute for Learning Maureen McVey has 12+ years of experience as a business analyst and is a founding member of The International Institute of Business Analysis. Ms. McVey has experience with many different industries; banking, finance, insurance, government, and manufacturing and has been working within the I.T. industry for over 25 years. As the Director of Business Analysis at The International Institute for Learning, she combines her subject matter expertise in Business Analysis competencies and skills to facilitator learning events using a combination lecture/discussion, problem solving and application to relevant situations. She began her career in the telecommunications industry as a business analyst with a software development house building call centre software applications. From there she spent over 5 years with one of the ‘big 5” management consulting organizations as an SAP consultant. While working with the one of the 5 major Banks in Canada, she worked with the Capability Maturity Model Integrated (CMMI) team to create a BA centre of Competency and internal certification program. As a Sr. Training Consultant for process optimization with a CMMI consultancy firm she has worked with organizations to help them to bring their business analyst processes, skills and knowledge to a higher level. George Bridges, BA, MS, PMP George Bridges, PMP, Senior Consultant, International Institute for Learning George Bridges is a trainer and Senior Consultant for the Business Analysis Certification Program and the Project Management Certification Program for IIL. George has an extensive background in Systems Development and Operations Research. He has participated in analyzing and developing business systems for Major corporations such as Ford Motor Company and Unisys Corporations. With 15 years in industry experience and 15 years of experience in the non-profit arena, George has applied Business Analysis and operations research to a number of business problems and processes. He has a bachelor’s degree in Mathematics, a Master’s Degree in Industrial and System Engineering from the University of Florida in Gainesville, Florida. He is currently working on a Doctor of Management in Information Technology from the Lawrence Technological University in Southfield, Michigan where he is an adjunct professor in the College of Management. George has practical experience in gathering and producing requirements, Requirement Analysis, Solution Assessment and Validations for manufacturing, telecommunication, web based and financial systems. These initiatives have resulted in moving from the current as-is process to valuable alternative solutions that has added value to the organizations. His recent projects that involved Business Modeling and Process Improvements include: A Voice Over IP implementation for a mid-size non-profit organization, defining and implementing a scanning system for data entry, simulation of a 24/7 Call Center, implementing a “Badge Scanning Process” and analyzing several alternatives to integrate an enterprise Website to an In-house Fund Management System. With IIL George has successfully taught over 100 people in the Business Analysis Fundamental, Business Process Modeling, Facilitation Skills for Business Analysis and Writing and Managing Requirements Documents Classes? Some of the client organizations include organizations such as Austin Energy, KPMG, Time Inc, City of Dallas, Papa John’s Int’l, PepsiCo, San Antonio Federal Credit Union, Pfizer, AT&T, Aristocrat, PMEX and many others. 5